Alexei Navalny’s mother takes flowers to his grave as Russia renews drone strikes on Ukraine

Seven people, including a baby and a child, have been killed after a drone hit a building in Odesa

Holly Evans
Sunday 03 March 2024 00:06 GMT
Alexei Navalny’s mother comforted by mourners at son’s grave

Alexei Navalny’s mother was seen laying flowers at his Moscow grave, one day after thousands took to the streets in a public act of defiance to attend his funeral.

Lyudmila Navalnaya visited for the second day while dressed in black, and was seen standing at the opposition leader’s burial site before leaving.

While only a small group were allowed to attend the service on Friday, thousands of mourners defied the Kremlin’s warning of arrests and marched to the Borisovsky cemetery.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Chants of “Putin is a murderer” and “No to war” were also heard, while hundreds had already been detained in Russia for laying flowers at vigils for Navalny in the days after his death at an Artic prison last month.

Navalny, a prominent Putin critic, was pronounced dead at the IK-3 prison, with his family and allies claiming that he was murdered. His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, and his son Zakhar, and daughter Dasha, did not attend the funeral, given the risk they would be arrested if they returned to the country.

Ukrainian rescuers work on the site of a damaged residential building in Odesa after an overnight attack
Ukrainian rescuers work on the site of a damaged residential building in Odesa after an overnight attack (EPA)

In an emotional post on social media, she bid farewell to her husband: “Thank you for 26 years of pure happiness … I don’t know how to live without you, but I’ll try to make you happy and proud of me up there.”

Meanwhile, a deadly drone strike in Ukraine’s Odesa killed at least seven people, including a three-month-old baby and a three-year-old child.

In a post on Telegram on Saturday, interior minister Ihor Klymenko said that the nine-storey building had been targeted in an “attack by Russian terrorists” in the southern city.

Pictures have shown emergency workers shifting through the rubble, with several floors visibly destroyed.

The death toll has risen throughout the day with at least seven confirmed dead with another eight injured, however there are fears the number could rise given the number of people who remain unaccounted for.

Officials also said that one person had been killed in the southern Kherson region, and another in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Ukraine’s air force said it downed up to 17 Russian drones overnight, with a number shot down over Odesa while more than 20 settlements sustained artillery and mortar attacks.

At least seven people have been killed including a baby and a three-year-old child
At least seven people have been killed including a baby and a three-year-old child (EPA)

Meanwhile, in Russia, a drone crashed into an apartment building in St Petersburg, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Six people received medical help after the explosion rocked the building, with reports claiming that the building was hit by a Ukrainian drone.

It comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Western allies to boost the country’s air defence systems

In a post on social media, he said: “We need more air defences from our partners. We need to strengthen the Ukrainian air shield to add more protection for our people from Russian terror. More air defence systems and more missiles for air defence systems saves lives.”

On Saturday, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian forces, General Olesksandr Syrskyi, suggested he would be replacing certain commanders leading the battlefront following the fall of Avdiivka.

On Telegram, he wrote: “I have sent groups of specialists to individual brigades where there are problems with the preparation of the headquarters to transfer experience and provide assistance.”

He added that the situation on the frontline remains difficult, but said that it was under control.

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